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‘The Great Unwinding’ of Medi-Cal benefits


Realignment through May 2024

The “Great Unwinding,” as Medi-Cal workers call it, will be an unprecedented moment where 15 million Medi-Cal dependents will have their eligibility redetermined. Some Californians are already witnessing the effects of the realignment as they have been deemed ineligible for benefits.

The great unwinding began in June of this year and will stretch until May of next year. California Department of Health Care Services and Covered California members are encouraging dependents not to worry about it and to contact either department for step-by-step instructions to resubmit their application.

“The department has posted our first set of redetermination outcomes in our data. As many of you know, the Department of Healthcare Services is reviewing the eligibility of 15 million Medi-Cal enrollees, more than any other state in the country,” said Yingjia Huang, assistant deputy director of Health Care Benefits and Eligibility with the California Department of Health Care Services. “We’re using this moment to implement meaningful changes that will make it easier for our members to get and stay covered in the next year, in the next few years.”

Huang spoke about what initially caused people’s removal from the program in June. “There was a disenrollment of 21 percent of our medical members, which is a relatively lower number compared to many other states,” Huang said as she explained that a big portion of the 21 percent was rejected because they didn’t hand in their renewal packets in time.

Huang advised that if you were part of the 225,000 individuals removed from the program in June, then you should look into other programs to be part of. “With our Covered California partners, we have designed under the leadership of Covered California a way for our members to transition smoothly over to Covered California.” The different programs can be accessed on the Covered California website.

Jessica Altman, executive director at Covered California, agreed with Huang and wanted to reassure customers that they are here to help them.

“California is especially well positioned to support consumers through this process and help them keep coverage. We are incredibly proud. Of the work that our state has done to reduce California’s uninsured rate from 17 and a half percent before the Affordable Care Act passed to just seven and a half percent,” Altman said.

“Past May we will continue to deliver more seamless transitions to California on an ongoing basis. We are working to make the transition for Medi-Cal to Covered California as easy as possible,” Altman said. “Senate Bill 260 and the Covered California medical enrollment program are changing the way Medi-Cal is covering California residents. We support residents’ transition from one program to the other so Californians can keep their health coverage past the unwinding. We hope to reach as many Californians as possible.”